In Moretown, town officials are still working from home and holding meetings over Zoom. However, as Governor Phil Scott gradually lifts social distancing constraints in an effort to allow Vermonters to get back to work, Moretown is planning a public-health-conscious reopening strategy for the town office.
Currently, Moretown treasurer Cherilyn Brown and select board assistant Sasha Elwell are in a solid remote-working flow. They both work from home and even quarantine the town mail, keeping it in a bag until enough time has passed that it is safe to open.
As the town plans on an inevitable reopening, however, new questions have come to the fore. “Do we have enough masks, gloves and hand sanitizer?” asked select board chair Tom Martin during the May 5 Zoom select board meeting. Elwell told the board that masks and gloves are coming, but they seem to be on back order.
Although the town office is not yet open to the public, Brown worked in the town office last Friday. She will continue to do so every Friday, meeting with people by appointment only.
Elwell explained the restrictions on municipal work set by the governor. “The restrictions are there can only be two people in the office at a time and they have to stay 6 feet apart. That’s why she’s just doing appointment only,” said Elwell.
“We certainly have the right to be open. Now that we can, we have to do it with care and we have to make sure we have all the proper safety equipment,” said Martin. “Let’s work on a transition plan.”
Martin acknowledged that when the office reopens it will have to be done with caution. He suggested installing Plexiglas in areas where town administrators and community members interact. “Even when we open, things will never be the same,” said Martin.
Small public-health-conscious changes to the Moretown town office may include installing Plexiglas, turning tables lengthwise to ensure maximum distance between people and avoiding the use of paper products as much as possible, since paper cannot be disinfected.